Lost Hunter Survives 19 Days in California Forest

Eats squirrels and algae for food

Outside Online Lost Hunter California

Mendocino National Forest     Photo: El Caganer/Flickr

On Saturday, a lost deer hunter was rescued after nineteen days in a northern California. Gene Penaflor, 72, was first reported missing on September 24 when he failed to meet up with his hunting partner for lunch in the Mendocino National Forest. ABC News reports that the two hunters had split up in the morning and that Penaflor had slipped and struck his head. He later told detectives that he woke up disoriented and decided to stay put, unsure of where he was.

The Mendocino County sheriff's office directed search parties, both on foot and by air, for the next four days and found no signs of Penaflor, according to CNN. Once rescued, Penaflor explained he saw search helicopters fly over him but was unable to get their attention. The four-day search was eventually brought to a close due to an impending storm and no sign of the lost hunter.

The search was reactivated this Saturday and Penaflor was found by another group of hunters on his nineteenth day in the forest. 

Penaflor later told detectives that he survived on squirrels, lizards, a snake, berries, and algae, crawling under a large tree and surrounding himself with leaves and grass to stay warm. He did in fact see deer he initially set out to hunt, but didn't have enough energy to shoot one according to ABC News.

Penaflor, reportedly now in good condition, was found only 3 miles away from where he separated from his hunting partner.

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